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Playlist: Booty Music for 80s & 90s Artsy Alternative Types
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1-900-HEY-NICK   |  
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Playlist: Booty Music for 80s & 90s Artsy Alternative Types

This mix is exactly what the title says. It’s meant to be listened to all the way through, in order, without skipping. (I realize this is an antiquated practice, but I made it in 2002. I made a CD tray card and cover for it and everything. #getoffmylawn)

The albums these are taken from are solid, too.

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Rowan Atkinson Still Alive, ‘Mr. Bean’ Actor Victim Of Online Death Hoax
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Rowan Atkinson Still Alive

Despite weekend reports to the contrary, Blackadder and Mr. Bean actor Rowan Atkinson did NOT die in a car crash on March 18th. He was the victim of a fake news story that was liked and shared more than 300,000 times on social media.

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1-900-HEY-NICK’s Top 12 Favorite Music Of 2015
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Birdcloud Music Of 2015

Eclectic edition, in no particular order…

My brother-from-another-mother turned me on to Birdcloud and I couldn’t listen to anything else for like a week. Strangely compelling; funny and also not.

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Nine Inch Nails: First 9 Tracks of New Album as Free MP3s
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1-900-HEY-NICK   |  
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Nine Inch Nails-Ghosts I-IVThe band Nine Inch Nails are giving away the first 9 tracks of their new album, Ghosts I–IV, as free MP3s.

Not crappy-sounding low-bitrate stuff, but high quality, 320kbps, DRM-free files. What’s more, the album appears to be self-released — or at least released without major label involvement — through Artist In Residence (who are also doing Sigur RósIn a Frozen Sea: A Year with Sigur Rós). And mashup fans rejoice, because all the material is released under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license!

Also included in the download is a PDF of the CD booklet, which is sparingly designed around some really nice photography that suits the music well, and several desktop wallpaper designs, which are thoughtfully provided in multiple sizes and aspect ratios. All you have to give them is your email address, and they’ll email you a single-use download link. (They don’t have a privacy policy up, but I haven’t gotten any junk mail from them so far.)

I should state up front that I generally don’t like NiN’s music. Convinced that I just didn’t like them because they were popular, friends used to try to trick me by putting them on, not telling me who it was, and then ask what I thought. It never worked, I could just never get into them. However, I really, really like this material. Just know going in that I’m not otherwise a fan, so I can’t really put this in the context of the rest of the Reznor canon.

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Music Review: U2 – The Joshua Tree
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1-900-HEY-NICK   |  
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U2 - The Joshua Tree CDU2 – The Joshua Tree
MFSL Gold Ultradisc II
Expanded Remastered
2-Disc Edition
Island
Available now

U2‘s The Joshua Tree was an epoch in American musical consciousness. But the album is such a big deal in rock history that you probably already know that … everyone does. It’s the album that contains the two songs that put the band on the mainstream map — “With Or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” When the chance to review the remastered version came up — with an extra CD of unreleased songs — I jumped at it.

While I hate non-standard CD packaging because it makes storage annoying, I’ve got to hand it to them: it’s beautiful. There’s a hardcover 32-page booklet, with top-loading cardboard sleeves at the front and back for the discs, that fits into a hardcover slipcase. The printing is black and metallic gold ink on sturdy, coated matte paper that doesn’t crimp or show fingerprints like most glossy CD inserts do. It looks great and should stand up well to repeated perusal.

Inside is a mercifully restrained introduction by VH1 Sr. VP Bill Flanagan at the beginning, and notes from U2’s guitarist The Edge about each song on the bonus disc at the end. In the middle are the lyrics to each song and accompanying discographic fetish information, like catalog number, chart positions, and which singles each track appeared on. This archival data is tastefully handled in that it’s uncluttered and out of the way if you don’t care, yet clearly visible if you do. Pictures of the band are interspersed throughout. A+ for design and relevant information.

Now down to business: the music. Comparing the original and remastered versions turned out to be a confusing experience. While I was really happy with some of their decisions, I was baffled by others.

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